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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 8, 2011 6:31am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Visual Art by Jerry and Others

Yes, there's definitely that tension. But of course, no art really exists without a formalist aspect -- romanticism doesn't deny the intellect entirely, and it's certainly going to rely on training and composition as a basis for expression, or a frame within which to work, right? So yeah, you could argue there's got to be that pole.

There's a famous essay that critiques minimalist sculpture because it's fundamentally baroque, which is definitely counterintuitive. To dredge it up from my memory banks, I think it's by Michael Fried and argues that the innate theatricality of minimalist sculpture is too interactive with the viewer, so it really adulterates the purity of the form. Obviously it's a formalist 1960s argument, but what always stuck with me about it is how it's possible to construct an argument so that one form becomes another. Which is why logic is both fantastic and innately flawed. Now how's that for my romanticist take on a formalist argument?

So yeah, you could certainly argue that there's a classical/formalist aspect to the Dead's art, but I still think the fundamental esthetic is not classical.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 8, 2011 6:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Visual Art by Jerry and Others

>but what always stuck with me about it is how it's possible to construct an argument so that one form becomes another. Which is why logic is both fantastic and innately flawed. Now how's that for my romanticist take on a formalist argument?

This has been a very educational thread, I love the paradoxical nature of Fried's argument. For me, the way we can use our analytical tools of abstraction to undermine themselves or in the positive sense, to bootstrap themselves, is a strength, not a weakness. It is very true that classical logic has a horror of paradox, but paradox is an inevitable consequence of recursion, and it is recursion that allows us to introspect, to see within ourselves, or turn the Mirror of Art back upon itself. Recursion is how fractals are created, and I think our world is definitely fractal in its infinite complexity and repetition of structures on multiple layers, with the interplay of Classical and Romantic elements present on each.

So, I never feel that our categorizations have to remain stable to be valid. The GD were definitely musical Romantics, but the work of archiving, collecting statistics, writing historical essays is a very Classicizing impulse. One of the reasons that the work done by scholars like LIA is so important, I think, is that it performs the alchemical synthesizing function of putting the Romantic energy of the band's live performances within a frame and making our knowledge more formalized.

The most Romantic Deadheads I'm sure are those who had thrilling experiences at shows and remember them that way, not balancing the quality of version X against version Y, listen indiscriminately and enjoy everything for what it is, etc. I'm more inclined towards the Classical, studious approach.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 8, 2011 7:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Visual Art by Jerry and Others

Well, there's a romanticism of experience and the romanticism of the practicing artist, I guess. The esthetic goal/ideal versus the practice. I don't suppose that Turner or Byron refrained from looking at their work comparatively, analyzing it afterwards, revising, etc. Jerry takes a very romantic stance, verbally, in so many things -- in his visual art, he supposedly never revised -- but it's also clear that he was an intense critic of his own music and others!

>For me, the way we can use our analytical tools of abstraction to undermine themselves or in the positive sense, to bootstrap themselves, is a strength, not a weakness

True, though I don't think Fried would have agreed. To me, the weakness of logic isn't in logic itself, but when it's taken as having the capacity to provide some kind of unanswerable answer without the recognition that it's also a reflection of how our minds (and linguistic structures) work. Sometimes paradoxes are more revealing, as Eastern philosophy would have it. Or art, music and poetry (Hunter's lyrics being a fantastic case in point). Great art is both subject to analysis and shows the limits of analysis. But then again, I obviously analyze incessantly :-)

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Aug 8, 2011 8:21am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Visual Art by Jerry and Others

>Great art is both subject to analysis and shows the limits of analysis.

AR, your insight and skillful embodiment of insight within language is truly impressive and in my semi-humble opinion, you seem to have achieved Satori. I could write ten thousand more words about language, logic, truth, and art - but it would all be just a "footnote" to the jewels of wisdom contained in the final paragraph of the above post.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Aug 8, 2011 8:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Visual Art by Jerry and Others

Excellent. If I get my book written, I'll quote you on the jacket :-)